It's rare that anyone ever sees Blaine Anderson completely sober.
Well, in the last six months or so, that is.
So, it really isn't a surprise when he stumbles into the agency building this morning, dark sunglasses hiding his bloodshot eyes. He stalks right past everyone in the halls, keeping his head straight forward and never acknowledging anyone until at last he reaches the right office. He throws open the door, letting it slam behind him and slumps into the seat in front of her desk.
Quinn Fabray looks up from her paperwork lazily, not even phased.
"Well, good morning to you too, Blaine," she says, indifferent.
Blaine doesn't reply, but waits, until at last he huffs and asks, "What do you want?"
Quinn sighs, rolling her eyes. "Could you just calm down for a few seconds, or is that too difficult?"
"Well, considering I had to get up at this ungodly hour," Blaine replies bitterly. "Yes."
"It's ten in the morning," Quinn points out. "But I suppose when you're out partying yet again . . " She slams down three tabloids in front of him. They each show various photos of him in different locations – each one of him hazy-eyed and flushed outside of a sketchy bar. "This needs to stop, Blaine," Quinn continues seriously. "Unless you want to become the male version of Lindsay Lohan," she adds with a shrug.
Blaine glares at her, leaning back in his seat.
"I'm not kidding, though," Quinn says. "This is not good for your image, for your career, and especially for you, Blaine. For your health and sanity and emotions. You have to take some control."
Blaine closes his eyes, shaking his head and reaching up to curve his fingers over his mouth. "You don't understand," he says at last.
"Understand what?" Quinn asks. "That you're spinning out of control? That partying it up and drinking until you're sick is not the way to go? Because it's not."
Blaine continues to avoid her gaze, breathing deeply as the pounding that's been in his head seems to double, and his stomach churns.
Quinn sighs as she stands up from her desk, moving around it until she comes in front of Blaine. She leans over, her voice soft as she speaks. "Look, I know sometimes fame brings pressures that are hard to deal with, Blaine, but you can't keep doing this to yourself."
"The hell I can't," Blaine mutters.
Quinn ignores him. "You need to cut back. You need to at least try to sober up."
"And what if I can't?" Blaine snaps back. "What if I don't want to?"
Quinn straightens up, pressing her lips together. "Alright, I can smell the alcohol on your breath, and now is obviously not the time to argue with you." She taps her fingers against her thigh, thinking a moment, and Blaine crumbles some more underneath his fierce headache.
"But anyway," she goes on. "You have a red carpet to walk tonight, and obviously hundreds of reporters will be there. Blaine, you need to take it seriously. I don't want to see you hammered in anymore tabloids, so you need to set them straight."
Blaine sighs heavily. "How?"
"Figure it out," Quinn replies. "You know how to charm them. Lie your ass off."
Blaine offers a small half-smile. "Sounds easy enough."
Quinn smiles back. "That's the Blaine I know." She pauses, her happy expression faltering. "But you still need help," she says quietly. "And you know I'm not just your publicist. I've known you for years, Blaine. I'll listen if you want me to."
"Thanks," Blaine says. "But no thanks." He pushes himself up, swaying as he gets to his feet.
"You should at least talk to someone," Quinn calls after him as he leaves the room, but the door is shut before she's even finished the sentence.
"Damn, Blaine. Quinn's right. You need to get a hold of yourself."
He's sitting outside at a small café, eating lunch with his best friend, Jeff Augustine. Well, he's not exactly eating – just sipping down water, still trying to fight his stupid hangover. Jeff, on the other hand, is inhaling his food, and Blaine has to turn his head, feeling queasy.
"It's not that simple," Blaine says drily, eyes scanning over the metal tables and chairs around them, topped with small bouquets of flowers.
They're empty, mostly, and he's just thankful no one has spotted him yet. He's got bodyguards close by in case something should happen, but it'd be nice if once in awhile he could just go out without the fear of being bombarded.
"Just stop drinking all the time," Jeff says through a mouthful of food. "Maybe you should like, stay with someone, so they can make sure you don't. Move back in with your parents."
Blaine scoffs obnoxiously. "Like that's going to happen," he says, taking another sip of water. "They already control my life enough as it is – I'm not going to give them more control."
Jeff nods, silent for a moment. "I have room," he says quietly.
Blaine sighs, unsure of how to reply. "Thanks," he says, "but it's not just drinking anymore. I don't think you can really help me."
Jeff looks at him sadly for a moment before changing the subject. "So – a premiere tonight – you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," Blaine replies bitterly.
"You don't seem excited," Jeff comments with a smirk.
"I just hate doing shit like this all the time," Blaine says, shifting his weight. "Why do I always have to be everywhere at once? It's fucking annoying."
"You're an attention whore, that's why," Jeff replies, and Blaine actually gives smirk.
"And because I love to rile up the paparazzi," Blaine says, leaning back and propping his elbow on the seat behind him. "Hmmm, I wonder how I can do that tonight . . "
"Oh, god," Jeff mutters. "Don't do anything too crazy – Quinn will kill you."
"Oh, relax," Blaine says dismissively. "I won't do anything. Besides, everyone's getting on my back all the time, and I'd really just like to shake them off. I'll wait until I'm Mr. Perfect Role Model again until I decide to fuck shit up."
Jeff snickers, almost choking on his food.
"Once I'm good in the public eye, I'm going to give Quinn hell," Blaine says with a sigh of contentment. "I'll show them all." He flashes a wicked grin and then takes another sip of water when a shriek reaches his ears, "Oh. My. God."
Blaine knows what's happening before she even screams. He gives an eye-roll and leaps from his seat, pulling Jeff along with him.
He and Jeff slip behind Blaine's bodyguard at the last second, squeezing through the front entrance of the café and racing down the block until a limo pulls up next to the curb. The three of them slide into the backseat, breathing hard.
"Where to?" the driver asks, and Blaine gives a sigh, looking at his watch. Quinn wanted him back within an hour. "To the agency, I suppose."
"Quinn, why do I have to be here so early?" Blaine asks irritably, plopping down in a chair, and throwing his feet up on her desk. "The premiere doesn't start until six."
"Because we have lot to do before you're allowed back out in public again," Quinn replies, not taking her gaze away from her work.
"I was just at a café," Blaine retorts, shoving his hands behind his head.
Quinn glances in front of him. "I mean in front of the paparazzi."
"Right," Blaine says sourly.
Paparazzi. It's always about the paparazzi and what pleases them. Never what Blaine's, oh no, never that.
"There better be some heavy alcohol at the after-party," Blaine says under his breath.
Jeff laughs from where he leans against the doorway and Quinn shoots him a glare before turning her attention to Blaine.
"You will not be drinking tonight," she says sternly, pointing her finger at him.
"Why not?" Blaine asks. "Everyone gets drunk at the after-party. It won't be so bad then."
"Because once you start drinking, Blaine, you can't stop," Quinn says seriously. "I'm not risking it. You'll be completely wasted, which will lead to very bad things that we can't afford."
"I'm pretty sure it's only about you," Blaine retorts. "Because if I don't get alcohol in my system I'll go crazy. I can't deal with people. I don't want to talk or mingle with anyone. I hate it."
"But you're going to have to," Quinn says, finally setting her work down. "Blaine, the way you're behaving is destroying your career and your reputation – "
"What about me?" Blaine asks, sitting up, and his eyes flash with anger. "When is it ever about me, huh? Do you think I give a shit about my reputation? Do you think I give a shit about my career? I don't. I don't want to be a part of it anymore."
"Blaine, just take a deep breath," Quinn says calmly.
"No – why should I?" Blaine asks. "So I can keep listening to you tell me how to live my life? Well, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of everyone telling me what I can and can't do. Other people can go off and party and get drunk and do drugs, but I can't. I can't because that's not what people want me to be. Sure, maybe it's not good for me to do it – but it's all that keeps me sane in this hellhole."
"You're right," Quinn says. "It isn't good for you Blaine. And that's why you need to take a stand here. Drinking and doing drugs is not going to help you feel better, okay? It's only going to make things worse."
"Really," Blaine asks with a little half-smirk. "Because from where I'm standing it makes me feel pretty damn great."
Quinn sighs, quiet for a moment as she thinks. Blaine sits, waiting for her and tapping his leg impatiently.
"Blaine – " she starts softly. "Just listen to me a second, okay – "
"No," Blaine says sharply, and he's rising from his seat. "I'm done with this. I'm sick of answering to you – doing everything you say."
"Blaine," Quinn says, her voice now filling with anger. "I'm your publicist. This is my job."
"Well, you're doing a pretty shitty job of things, aren't you?" Blaine asks.
"That's it," Quinn says, holding up her hands. "I give up. Go get ready now. Go to your stylist and change, get your hair done. Just go. And Jeff, talk some sense into him."
"Fine, I'm outta here," Blaine replies, and he storms from the room, muttering curses at her all the way.
Jeff gives a nod and follows after him.
"Blaine, would you just stop being so stubborn for a second?" Jeff asks desperately.
"No," Blaine replies shortly, fixing his tie. "I'm not going to talk about this anymore. I'm sick of talking about. I'm sick of being nagged and judged and told what to do. Well, you know what, Quinn can beg all she wants - I'm not listening to her tonight."
"But she's right," Jeff presses.
"But maybe I don't care," Blaine replies, stalking away from him and back into his dressing room closet.
Blaine returns with a slim, shiny jacket, and his stylist, Maria throws it over him, adjusting the color and sleeves. She grabs a measuring tape and brings it around his waist, writing down measurements on the palm of her hand.
"Ouch," Blaine mutters as she prods around his waist, marking where she'll have to tailor. "Could you be a bit more careful? Goddamn."
Maria doesn't respond, but shoots him a nervous glare.
Blaine gives an irritated sigh, standing straight as he waits for Maria to be finished with him. She pokes and pulls just a few more times, her fingers shaking as she tries to figure out the tailor shape quickly. As soon as she pulls away, Blaine shrugs the jacket off quickly and hands it to her with a shove. She takes it and stumbles back rushing to her workspace.
"You could be a little nicer to her," Jeff says quietly glancing after the young girl.
"Why?" Blaine asks with a scoff. "She's just another stylist. They all leave eventually. Last one only lasted two days."
"You gotta learn to respect people, Blaine," Jeff says with a sigh.
"Yeah, and when are people going to respect me?" Blaine asks, raising his eyebrows. "God, you're my best friend and you starting to rag on me more than Quinn."
Jeff shakes his head, taking a deep breath. "I'm just being honest, Blaine. You know I'll always have your back – but you're not the same, kind, ambitious guy you were a few years ago."
"Yeah, that was before," Blaine snaps back. "That was before fame ruined my life."
"No," Jeff disagrees. "That was before you let it."
Blaine stops in his tracks; that certainly got his attention. He turns, looking at Jeff with an expression that finally looks like understanding in his eyes.
"What are you saying?" he asks.
Jeff shrugs. "Just think about," he replies, and he walks away down the hall, making his way back to Quinn's office.
Blaine sits in front of the mirror, really looking at himself.
His suit is nice and trim, and his hair is perfectly fluffed up, his eyes sparkling mischievously. On the outside, he looks just like any other Hollywood icon – happy and flawless, but on the inside, he knows he's broken beyond repair.
He takes another swig, finishing off his first of many bottles and then chucks it in a trashcan outside the room as he races outside to meet his limousine.
The bright lights are nothing strange to Blaine. Neither is the long red carpet, or the flashing cameras. The hordes of paparazzi or the legions of fans. He's gone through this process a thousand times before, and yet, it never gets any easier. He hates being here and strutting down the carpet, flashing his award-winning smile, doing interviews, and making conversation with other celebrities.
Basically, he just hates to pretend to be somebody he's not.
He carefully shoves the limo door open, making sure his sunglasses are on securely before stumbling out onto the street. Screams assault his ears as everyone turns to see him, reaching out, desperate for a passing touch. He ignores everyone, simply moving straight forward on until the cameras start to capture him. His lips turn up into a small smirk, and he walks a little taller, letting his instincts take over and fool everybody.
The lights glare at him, bearing down, but he smiles wide, coming to stop at the edge of the carpet and stands with his hands in his pockets, posing for the flashes. His name is called over and over, and every so often he glances in a different direction, making the fans feel like they're known.
The buzz of the alcohol starts to kick in, and his confidence grows.
He looks down the line of celebrities, trying to pick out who he'll talk to tonight, who'll get the press and the fans riled up the most. He spots the new breakout singer, Sam Evans, and America's hottest It couple – musical theatre legend, Rachel Berry, and rock n' roll drummer, Finn Hudson. He'll probably go for Rachel – create some scandalous news articles about how he and her are suddenly hooking up, though they'll only be sharing a few words and maybe a laugh and a cheesy smile tonight.
A few hundred feet away, Quinn and Jeff stand on the sidelines, waiting anxiously for Blaine. They watch as he crosses the huge television screens, holding their breath.
"Oh, god, he better not mess this up," Quinn says, curling her hand up by her mouth.
"I tried," Jeff assures. "Let's just pray that it works."
Blaine takes a step forward, finally acknowledging some fans and takes a permanent marker, signing as many things as he can, and thanking every person that offers him a compliment, though it feels like all he's hearing are lies.
He takes a few pictures, shakes a couple hands, and then turns back toward the paparazzi, waiting his turn for interviews.
Within a moment, a cameraman is approaching him, talking in a low voice
"Can you wait just a second?" he asks politely. "McKenzie will get to you as soon as she's finished with Finchel."
Blaine gives an irritated nod, shooing him away as he smiles a few more times, glancing over and watching until Finn and Rachel are done being interviewed. McKenzie turns towards the camera, an artificial smile on her face.
"Alright, well thank you Rachel – thank you, Finn. You two are adorable and I hope you have a great time tonight."
Finn and Rachel smile, waving as they walk away and down the carpet.
"And up next we have none other than newfound badboy, Blaine Anderson."
She walks over to him, the camera following, and Blaine offers a lips-only smile.
"So, Blaine," she starts. "How does it feel to be America's new badboy?"
Quinn puts a hand over her chest just down the carpet, muttering, "C'mon, Blaine. C'mon, Blaine."
"Well," he starts, shifting his weight. "I don't really think of myself as a badboy."
"Oh, come on," McKenzie presses. "Drinking and partying, getting caught with drugs – you don't think doing things like that all the time makes you a badboy? Especially in those leather jackets of yours – damn."
Blaine shakes his head. "Not really," he replies. "I'm jus' – I'm doing what eve'yone else is doing – ya know? It's just the fame that throws people off."
"Oh dear, God," Quinn mutters, catching the slur in his voice. She turns to Jeff, grabbing his sleeve and squeezing her fist. "He's drunk – he's drunk, isn't he?"
"I – " Jeff looks toward the screen. "I don't know."
"Well, everyone seems to think you're pretty badass," McKenzie says with a sly grin.
"Yeah," Blaine says slowly. "But I don't think anyone knows me."
"What do you mean?" McKenzie asks.
And Quinn puts her face into the palms of her hands, shaking her head.
"Blaine, don't screw this up. So help me God, Blaine, I will fucking slit your throat."
"Nobody sees me outside o' fame," Blaine replies. "I prob'ly seem happy with my life, right? Well, I don't really like it. I don' . . want to be here a lot of the time."
"So are you saying you don't appreciate - ?"
"Oh God," Quinn shrieks into her hands.
"No, no," Blaine assures, cutting her off. "O' course I 'preciate my fans. I jus' don't like my job sometimes. It sucks."
"Well, don't we all," McKenzie says with a smirk. "And let me just ask you one more question, Blaine – the one everyone's waiting for. What are you wearing?"
Blaine thinks a moment, scratching his head. "Uh – Armin – Armani?" he says. "Yeah, I think tha's it."
"Well, we love it," McKenzie replies. "It's sleek and oh-so-slimming."
"Yeah," Blaine laughs. "I's tight." He pulls at his collar. "Very tight – uncomfortable." He steps up, reaching out and grabbing McKenzie's mic, pulling it toward himself. "You're fired, by the way, Maria," he says, letting out a little, hysterical laugh. "I'm not kidding – don't come into work tomorrow."
McKenzie laughs along with him, taking her mic back. "Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – Blaine Anderson, America's new badboy."
"I ain't a badboy," Blaine shouts, but the camera's already moving away, and he stumbles – almost tripping – as he tries to get walking down the aisle again.
"Oh my god," Quinn breathes. She turns to Jeff in panic. "Please tell me he didn't – not on national television."
"Well, I think he did," Jeff replies, his expression just as shocked.
"I'm going to kill him," Quinn replies. "He is so, totally dead."
Quinn tears through the heated room, Jeff following after her.
People sway and grind and actually dance around her, glasses of champagne and glass bottles slopping around in their hands. Her eyes narrow and her face is flushed with warmth as she stalks around, looking everywhere for Blaine.
"Where is he?" she hisses.
"Well, I don't see where else he could be other than the bar," Jeff replies. "All he wanted was to get drunk tonight."
"Well, he managed that a little early," Quinn retorts, her voice filled with acid. "Now I want my chance to kill him."
"I don't see him anywhere on the dance floor," Jeff says. "Maybe he's getting it off in the bathroom."
Quinn snorts. "If he gets someone pregnant, I'll not only end his life – I'll bring him back and then kill him again . . three times."
They keep searching, and as the room seems to get more crowded, Quinn reaches out, grabbing Jeff's hand and pulls him along. He ignores the blush he feels creep up his neck and chases after her, keeping their fingers locked tightly.
At last when she's too frustrated, she turns back to face him. "You know what, this is pointless. I'm going to go outside and call him again – see if he won't answer. Will you try to get Maria on the phone again – I need to know she's coming back."
Jeff nods and regretfully lets go of her hand. They push past people, Jeff searching for a place he can call Maria, and Quinn trying desperately to get outside. At last Quinn stumbles out onto the concrete, the cool night air feeling good against her skin. She pulls out her phone as she walks around the side of the building, dialing Blaine's phone number before putting it up to her ear.
She lets it ring only once before realizing she doesn't have to call him.
Just around the corner, she hears kissing noises and it should be no surprise when she sees Blaine lip -locked with some random girl, pushing up her shirt as he runs his fingers along her abdomen.
"Blaine," she says sharply, but it's as if neither of them hears her.
"Oh, for God's sake," she mutters before moving stomping forward, and pulling Blaine backward by his suit jacket.
He looks towards her, eyebrows creasing and a glazed look in his bloodshot eyes.
Quinn glares at the girl a moment, waiting for her to leave. "Well, get out of here," she snaps, and the girl scampers off.
"Blaine, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Quinn asks angrily, letting go of him – well, more like throwing him.
"Kissin' a girl," he replies. He stumbles backward, straight into the wall. His hand flies up, clutching the side of his head. "Ugh . . my head," he mutters. "I feel . . dizzy."
Quinn jumps backwards before it even happens, guessing immediately.
Blaine doubles over, vomiting all over the ground, and Quinn simply shakes her head and closes her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. As soon as Blaine's finished, she steps around the puke, grabbing him by the forearm and pulling him along.
"Come on," she hisses. "I'm taking you home. You're limousine is just down the block."
As she drags him along, she calls Jeff, praying that he's figured things out with Maria.
"Hello?" he asks.
"Hey – I found him," Quinn says bitterly.
"Oh, just making out with some girl behind the bar," she replies almost cheerfully. "He then proceeded to hurl all over the ground."
"Uhh – pleasant," Jeff replies.
"Did you get a hold of Maria?" Quinn asks, almost afraid of the answer.
"Yeah," Jeff replies, but his tone doesn't imply anything good. "We have a bit of a problem there."
"Why?" Quinn asks, and she gives Blaine a jerk as he begins to slump.
"I tried to explain to her that everything was fine – that she isn't fired, but she quit," Jeff replies. "She mentioned being afraid of Blaine abusing her or something. I think he's terrified her quite a bit."
"Oh dear God," Quinn sighs. "Well, I suppose I'll have to find someone else. I mean, this is only the eighteenth stylist he's fired in the last six weeks. And I mean, that's pretty good compared to the amount of personal assistants and interns we've gone through."
Jeff makes a noise between a scoff and a little half-laugh.
"He's so going to fucking get it tomorrow," Quinn threatens under her breath. "Can you meet us out in the limo? And take him home from there? I guess I'll be spending the night trying to find a new stylist."
"Sure thing," Jeff replies. "I'll be out there in a sec."
Quinn hangs up, shoving her phone back in her pocket, and as they reach the limo, throws Blaine unceremoniously in a backseat, slamming the door after him before grabbing a seat ahead of him, saving the one beside her for Jeff.
Quinn gives a sigh as she hangs up the phone yet again.
She can feel a migraine beating behind her eyes, and she closes them, reaching up and pressing a finger to the skin between her eyebrows.
She's been searching through resumes of previous applicants, looking for someone to replace Maria – someone who will hopefully stay longer than two days. The pile is dwindling, and she's getting to the last group of people. She pulls someone from the top, looking over their experience and their essay.
And it clicks.
This person just may be it.
She remembers him – snarky and sarcastic, but charming at the same time. He has the attitude and the stubborn personality to counter Blaine – she just knows he won't back down. He'll fight Blaine, she's hoping - knock a little sense into him.
It's late, she knows, but she just wants to get it over with, so she dials his number, heart pounding and hands shaking.
He answers on the first ring.
"Hi," she says cheerfully. "Is this Kurt Hummel?"
A/N: FINALLY. This is what I've been working on for over a month, and I was going to wait until I'd finished writing chapter five to post, but I caved and posted a chapter earlier. Honestly, I don't think I've ever planned a fic this much ahead and in depth, so I'm really excited to be writing this.
Thank you so much to my lovely betas, Stephanie and Jasmine - I adore you two. (: